Pizza with the Dalai Lama

Every once in a while, we come across something that is just too funny to keep to ourselves. Today we are laughing about a TV news anchor's joke with the Dalai Lama that just fell seriously flat.

Australian Today show host Karl Stefanovic tries the line "So the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop..." but falling flat because of the culture barrier. After some blank stares, the Dalai Lama eventually laughed after Stefanovic said, "I knew that wouldn't work." You can just feel the awkwardness. Go ahead, watch the video. I'll wait.

I admit, I LOLed, but then grumbled a bit. It's a hilarious but horrifying example of how reporters don't treat religion seriously. Perhaps the trend is even worse in broadcast media?

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that a news anchor is trying to joke with the Dalai Lama. Sure, the Dalai Lama comes across as a warm and fuzzy guy, but boy, is that how you spend your time with him?

The story reminds me of the story from Bruce Nolan about how the New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson recently showed Pope Benedict XVI his Super Bowl ring.

A Vatican picture captures the moment, with the leader of 2 billion Catholics bending slightly to examine the proffered Super Bowl ring. A couple of cardinals are close by.

"I told him what it was, you know? It's a Super Bowl ring. And he understood that, right, darling?" Benson said to Gayle in an interview at Saints training camp.

Meantime -- and here Benson is chuckling at the memory -- "There's this cardinal laughing too. He couldn't believe I would do that.

"So it was a nice conversation. And he was very sincere about this whole thing."

Both instances generate feelings mommies must feel when little boys display their mud creations in the back yard. Help me out: Do I sound like a party pooper?

Instead of dwelling on this clip, let's take a look at some new reporting from Jaweed Kaleem of the Huffington Post on the future of Buddhism in America. The piece hooks on a recent retreat that did attract some criticism.

Brad Warner, a Soto Zen priest and author who writes on Buddhism and punk rock, also blogged to criticize what he called was “an accepted group of tastemakers and trendsetters within American Buddhism” who he saw as wanting to "reify their positions and to expand their influence."

Warner, who did not attend the conference, continued: "It’s not that these people can enact any sort of legislation that is in any way binding. But they do have the power of their magazines and their institutes to push their version of the American Buddhist status quo."

Kornfield admitted disappointment that the gathering had no representatives of Asian Buddhist temples, which are some of the oldest and largest in the U.S. and largely serve immigrant communities.

"There is still a pretty big divide between temples and teachers whose communities are of immigrants and those who are called convert Buddhists. I don’t know how to address this," he said.

Again, I don't want to be a party pooper about the TV anchor clip and enjoy a good laugh as much as the next reporter, but it's good to see someone taking religion seriously.

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